Monday, 11 April 2011

American Gods Review

American Gods
- Neil Gaiman

Publisher: UK - Headline Review

Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm or preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

I’ve been pondering how to review American Gods for a while…there is so much to say and yet most of it has been said already by reviewer far more worthy and cleverer than little old me. But at the same time I couldn’t not review it. It is a weighty tome and it’s story is equally as weighty, but as soon as I started reading I felt drawn in as the world was built around me. The reading was like watching the baking of a tiered wedding cake from the inside - complete with measuring, adding a touch of this and an ounce of that, stirring, watching the mixture rise and then adding frosting to the outside.

Shadow, just released from prison is seeing the world for the first time in three years as we see it anew through him. He has no-one to hold him down so he accepts the offer of a job from the mysterious Mr. Wednesday and gets swept up in a world where gods can be con artists and leprechauns can be six-foot tall. The writing is smooth and atmospheric with vivid pictures that stay in your mind long after the pages are shut. I was rooting for Shadow throughout even if half the time I didn’t have any more idea what was going on than he did! There was some hypnotic to the writing and plot that drew me deeper and deeper.

American Gods is ultimately a story about stories. Some tales are on gods, folk lore, myths and legends. There is mystery story, a romance, a supernatural, a war story and of course a road trip. It is a tale of big cities and small town; a story about society and a personal growth; a story about the weather; a philosophical tale and an action adventure; a story of America and the age old tale of new verses old. I don’t think this will be for everyone tastes but if you have some time to spare and want a leisurely stroll around the role of gods in modern America there are much worse ways to spend a few hours. It will be a book that will sit on my shelves for a long time to come.

Recommended for fans of Kate Griffin and Homer’s Odyssey. 9.5 out of 10.

Part of FTC's Speculative Fiction Challange Book 7/12


  1. This book is on my TBR pile, why aren't there more hours in the day so I can read more lol and I think your review is fantastic. I wish I could review half as well.

  2. I know that feeling Mel. About needing to jot down your book thoughts on a book that really grabbed you even thought it has already been done.

    As you as you said, a story about stories and mentioned a romance and folk lore, I thought of The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. Have you read it? I loved it.

    I may have to check this one out... as soon as I have time to read a tome in a few hours. LOL

  3. @ Missie - I have read The gargoyle and enjoyed it. ALthough I think American Gods is better done with a stronger story! Yes, you need ti invest the time but it's so worth it! :)

  4. Oh this sounds like one I need to get my little greedy hands on! However, if you disparage your reviewing skills to me again... I will bring my doberman over the sea and make him sit on you until you relent (well, with his demeanor that's all I can threaten but it still works since he is 100+ lbs!). Just remember that.

    You did a great job of reviewing this one and I loved the cake metaphor! *bows to greatness*

  5. So glad to hear you enjoyed this one so much. I've always pondered on reading one of his books. I've even picked them up on several occations as I'm shopping for books. But never took it to the cash register. I'm going to have to think about that in the future. :) Thanks!

  6. I have this waiting for me to read on my bookcase. You've put me in the mood to bump it up the TBR pile.


  7. You make me think I should try this book again. I did give it a go, but typical me I gave up on page 5 o_O Maybe I read a bad translation